In fall 2018 UNM allocated a building on the south campus for University Libraries to use as a long-term repository for library collections. Each year University Libraries adds more than 20,000 physical items to the collection without the possibility of adding more square feet to library buildings. Many shelves are currently so crowded it is difficult for students to find the materials they need. The South Campus Repository (SCR) will house less-used library materials in a climate-controlled, high-density environment allowing us to address significant space constraints in the existing main campus libraries — Zimmerman, Centennial Science & Engineering, Fine Arts & Design and Parish Memorial.
Throughout the fall semester library staff worked with purchasing, planning and campus development and facilities management to develop the plans for remodeling the building to suit library collection needs. Heating and airconditioning upgrades will begin soon. The SCR will be climate controlled to ensure materials will be kept in the best possible environmental conditions for the future.
The New Mexico Legislature and the Governor approved a one-time allocation of $1.14 million for University Libraries during the 2019 legislative session to fund the purchase and installation of library appropriate shelving. A request for proposals will be issued.
The SCR planning team visited other university library facilities across the country to learn from what others have done. Many libraries at academic institutions have had long-term storage facilities in place for decades and were generous in sharing information with the planning team. Various library teams are also developing procedures to ensure fast and easy request procedures for anyone needing materials retrieved from the SCR.
Subject librarians have been meeting with departments and individual faculty members to discuss collection use and develop proposals for what might be transferred to the SCR. It is important that regularly used research materials remain in main campus libraries for student, faculty and staff use. Only materials that have low or no checkouts will be moved into the repository.
The first collections could be moved to the new facility as soon as spring 2020 providing all the remodeling work is completed. Pulling, processing, re-cataloging, preparation, re-labeling and storing is a labor-intensive process. Nearly every department in the library will be involved as materials are chosen and moved to the new facility in this multi-year project. Evaluation of the collection and monitoring of material requests will be on-going so that any piece can be returned to the main campus libraries if it is needed.